Bell Media says the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Final attracted an average audience of 4.8 million viewers across TSN, CTV, RDS, and Noovo, becoming the second-most-watched broadcast event of the year behind Super Bowl LVI. Audiences for the Final marked an increase of +23% compared to the 2018 Final, with the match also setting a new record as the most-watched live streaming event in TSN and RDS history. The Final reached more than 10 million unique Canadian viewers, with audiences peaking at 7.7 million viewers at 12:54 p.m. ET as Argentina secured the title in a dramatic penalty shootout. Overall, the tournament attracted 24 million Canadians across Bell’s networks with 62% of the country’s population tuning in to watch some part of the iconic tournament. Additionally, Bell says the event represented the most successful sustained period of digital content consumption over 28 days in TSN history, garnering more than 32.5 million video starts and 215 million page views throughout the tournament.
MEDIAPRO Canada has aired over 1,250 live soccer matches across its OneSoccer linear channel, streaming service and social media platforms as the dedicated soccer platform marks four seasons since it entered the Canadian market, including more than 530 soccer games involving Canadian teams – 433 of those produced by the company’s broadcast services division. MEDIAPRO says thus far in 2022, OneSoccer’s YouTube channel has garnered 8.8 million views, up 40% over 2021 (of which 51.3% are aged 18-34), while its Twitter page recorded nearly 40 million impressions, up 267% over 2021. Instagram reel views hit 2.4M, while TikTok video views reached 6.1M and the OneSoccer hub posted 2.1M page views. OneSoccer’s FIFA World Cup Qatar coverage drew 2.1 million views across all platforms in just the first 15 days of the tournament.
CBC and HBO Max have renewed Peabody Award-winning comedy Sort Of for a third season. The CBC/HBO Max co-production, in partnership with Sphere Media (formerly Sienna Films), made its HBO Max premiere in December. Created by Bilal Baig and Fab Filippo, the second season continues to follow a gender fluid millennial in transition in every aspect of their life.
CTV has confirmed initial mid-season premiere dates. Among the new scripted and unscripted series joining the network’s lineup are new crime drama Will Trent (Jan. 3), starring Ramón Rodríguez and based on Karin Slaughter’s bestselling book series; Australian TV format The Parent Test (Jan. 5) where 12 families are put under the microscope in the ultimate parenting stress test; new missing persons drama ALERT (Jan. 8) from executive producers Jamie Foxx and John Eisendrath (The Blacklist); Night Court (Jan. 22), a follow-up to the beloved 1980s sitcom, starring The Big Bang Theory’s Melissa Rauch and John Larroquette, who reprises his role as Dan Fielding; and TRUE LIES (March 1), inspired by the James Cameron blockbuster, starring Steve Howey (Bride Wars) and Ginger Gonzaga (Togetherness).
CBC’s winter 2023 season kicks off with the world premiere of Bollywed (Jan. 12) and the CBC premieres of Around The World in 80 Days (Jan. 2) and Stuff the British Stole (Jan. 6). CBC Gem will recognize International Holocaust Remembrance Day in January with the Ken Burns, Lynn Novick and Sarah Botstein-led documentary series, The U.S. & The Holocaust (Jan. 13). CBC Gem also has the Canadian premieres of UK period drama Death and Nightingales, starring Jamie Dornan (Jan. 6); comedy I Hate You (Jan. 11); and UK lifestyle series, The Simpler Life (Jan. 2).
Super Channel has acquired new six-episode factual series, Deadly Science, from Go Button Media. The Super Channel Original series is set to premiere Jan. 9 on Super Channel Fuse. In addition, the previously announced Mysteries of the Ancient Dead (6×44), also from Go Button Media, made its premiere Dec. 26. Both series will air as part of Super Channel’s Docu-Monday block, with episodes also available On Demand.
Hollywood Suite is the exclusive Canadian outlet for HBO Max Original and CNN Films documentary series The Last Movie Stars, the critically-acclaimed documentary series directed by Ethan Hawke. Each of the six hour-long episodes will premiere Thursdays, beginning Jan. 12, and will also be available to stream on demand the same day. Directed by Hawke and executive produced by Martin Scorsese, the docuseries celebrates the talent and captivating love story of Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward. The story is brought to life by readings of long-lost transcribed interviews with Newman, Woodward, and those closest to them. Hawke enlists George Clooney, Laura Linney, Sally Field, Oscar Isaac, Karen Allen, Ewan McGregor, Sam Rockwell, LaTanya Richardson Jackson, Zoe Kazan, and others, to voice original interviews and explore details of Woodward and Newman’s relationship, in addition to featuring the couple’s daughters.
Blue Ant Media is pulling the plug on A.Side on Jan. 15, its music and pop culture themed specialty channel. The channel was first launched in 2008 as AUX by original owner Glassbox Television. Blue Ant rebranded the channel in 2017 as A.Side, as part of a partnership with Shed Creative Agency, after gaining a controlling interest in Glassbox. The channel’s schedule had more recently drifted into unscripted true crime and paranormal content.
Stingray has launched free ad-supported TV channels Stingray Music, Stingray Naturescape and Stingray CMusic with Freevee (U.S.) and Samsung TV Plus (Austria, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Sweden and Switzerland). Stingray Music, carried by both Freevee and Samsung TV Plus, offers curated audio channels including rock, pop, country and hip-hop. Stingray Naturescape, carried by Freevee, offers stunning nature scenes set to peaceful soundtracks, while Stingray CMusic, carried by Samsung TV Plus, is dedicated to modernizing classical music on television by presenting great works in a music video format.
ONETV: The Exercise & Entertainment Channel is in free preview for all of January across Canada on Rogers, Bell, Shaw, Cogeco and a variety of other cable service providers. ONETV is home to original ZoomerMedia fitness programs like the ’80s inspired Anjelica’s 22 Minute Workout and Healing Yoga, in addition to British soaps like Eastenders and Emmerdale, period dramas like Vanity Fair, and detective series, including Prime Suspect starring Helen Mirren.
Wendy Tilby and Amanda Forbis’ National Film Board of Canada (NFB) animated short The Flying Sailor is one of 15 films shortlisted for this year’s Oscar for Animated Short Film. The latest work by the Calgary-based Palme d’Or-winning duo, the film is inspired by the true-life story of a man blown two kilometres through the air by the 1917 Halifax Explosion. The film has received nine awards and honours to date, including two prizes last month at the Los Angeles Animation Festival. The Flying Sailor, which will screen at the Sundance Film Festival later this month, is available to stream at nfb.ca.
The Whistler Film Festival (WFF) has announced the winner of the 2022 WFF Audience Award, GRINGA directed by EJ Foerster and Marny Eng, which had its Canadian Premiere at the 22nd edition of the festival. GRINGA features Steve Zahn (White Lotus) who excels in the role of a well-meaning yet clueless father coaching a ragtag women’s futbol team in rural Mexico. The film was lensed by B.C.-based director of photography, Peter Wilke, also the DOP on last year’s WFF Audience Award winner, Drinkwater. A close runner-up as an audience favourite was Buffy Sainte-Marie: Carry It On, directed by Madison Thomas, an alumna of the Whistler Film Festival Indigenous Filmmaker Fellowship program. The complete list of WFF award winners is available here.
outACTRAto, the queer committee of ACTRA Toronto, have announced the winner of the fourth Queer Your Stories Short Film Competition, in partnership with the Inside Out Toronto 2SLGBTQ+ Film Festival. The winning project is Plant Daddy by Izad Etemadi and Lauren Holfeuer and directed by James Cooper. At the heart of the comedy is a deeply relatable issue for queer audiences: the crippling pressure to forgive parents for not always being the allies we needed. Plant Daddy uses humour to explore the phenomenon of Millennials (and Gen Z) coping with their childhood traumas by raising “plant children” with the level of care they wish they’d received as children.
Youth Media Alliance (YMA) has opened entries for its 2023 Awards of Excellence, honouring achievement in TV programming and digital and interactive content for young viewers. The competition is open to all Canadian-made youth productions originally released in English within Canada between Jan. 1, 2021, and Dec. 31, 2022. This year, a total of 20 awards will be handed out, including reinstatement of the Grand Prize for Best Production, All Categories. Entries must be submitted online by Feb. 1 via the YMA intranet site. The Awards Gala will be held May 31 in Toronto at Glenn Gould Studio.
Creative BC and the Canadian Media Producers Association, BC Producers Branch (CMPA-BC) have opened a new pilot initiative that will deliver $200K in grants of up to $25K for the optioning of pre-existing intellectual property (IP) by B.C.-based production companies. The IP BC Pilot Program provides pre-development support enabling B.C. producers to adapt existing creative and cultural properties like podcasts, magazine articles, video games and stage plays into film and television content, including fiction, documentary and animated series, as well as feature films for theatrical distribution, and one-off programs for television and streamer platform networks.